Emerald Health‘s investigational cannabidiol-derived EHP-101 reduces neuroinflammation, the risk of loss of myelin, and nerve cell damage in two mouse models of multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study shows.
These results support the potential therapeutic benefits of EHP-101 for MS, and Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals expects to launch a human clinical trial this year.
The study reporting the findings, “Hypoxia mimetic activity of VCE-004.8, a cannabidiol quinone derivative: implications for multiple sclerosis therapy,” was published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.
Researchers investigated the effects of EHP-101 (previously known as VCE-004.8) in two clinically relevant mouse models of MS, the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and the Theiler’s virus-induced encephalopathy (TMEV) models.
By administrating the therapy in the early stages of EAE disease, researchers observed that it reduced the clinical manifestations of MS.
In the TMEV mouse model, which mimics primary progressive MS (a more aggressive form of the disease), while controls showed decreased motor activity, treatment with EHP-101 brought motor activity back to normal levels.
Also, two hallmarks of MS, loss of myelin (demyelination) and nerve cell axon damage were significantly prevented with the therapy while control (untreated) mice suffered marked demyelination.
Levels of pro-inflammatory markers in both mouse models were seen to be blocked by EHP-101.
These findings support a broad-range activity of EHP-101 in improving several hallmarks of MS.
“There are no approved drugs capable of reversing MS and very limited treatment options for the more severe and progressive forms of MS. We have observed positive preclinical results with EHP-101, dramatically reversing the debilitating effects of MS in animals,” Jim DeMesa, MD, CEO of Emerald Health, said in a press release.
“Our scientists’ pioneering work provides us the opportunity to advance unique treatment regimens for different stages and forms of MS,” he added.
Eduardo Muñoz, PhD, Emerald’s chief scientific officer and professor of Immunology at the University of Córdoba, said the company’s cannabinoid derivatives “are designed to improve bioactivity and therapeutic utility of their natural precursors and it is clear that EHP-101 is achieving mechanistic outcomes that could be an important step for MS science.”